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Anmore composer scores music in début ballet

Jack Campbell's "Absence & Creation" will have two showings in Vancouver, will feature four of Ballet BC’s emerging artists, and will include the UBC School of Music's New Coast Chamber Ensemble.

Jack Campbell hopes this project will be the start of something special.

Next month, the Anmore musician and composer will present the world premiere of a new ballet he wrote with his best friend and collaborator Antony Knight, a choreographer, actor, vocalist, composer and director.

Titled Absence & Creation, the ballet will have two showings in Vancouver on Feb. 17 featuring four of Ballet BC’s company of emerging artists:

  • Eduardo Jimenez Cabrera
  • Briana Del Mundo
  • Emanuel Dostine
  • Pei Lun Lai

As well, the UBC School of Music’s New Coast Chamber Ensemble will also create a “sonic sculpture” with a flute, clarinet, violin, metal-based percussion and electric guitar — dotted around the theatre.

Recently speaking with the Tri-City News, Campbell said he gave the musicians instructions on how to “progress at their own pulse within a general time period.”

The score, which is rooted in the formal principle of modern classical music, accompanies a heavily improvised dance that’s meant to examine love and loss.

“All of this being perceived through the omnipresent passage of time,” Campbell wrote in an email.

“When these themes are reduced to their most primary elements, the major indisputable result of death is absence and the major indisputable result of love is creation. This piece explores the relationship between absence and creation, and how these two totally unique entities that seems so very opposite are in fact conjoined in an inseparable relationship that determines and governs a large element of our shared human experience.”

Campbell and Knight have worked on the project for two years.

Campbell described ballet as the purest form of artistic expression; he plans to write more — and perhaps see Absence & Creation on tour.

“I hope this will be the beginning of something very special in my career,” he said.

Absence & Creation is at 4:30 and 7 p.m. in the Jack and Darlene Poole Theatre at Arts Umbrella (1400 Johnston St., Vancouver) on Saturday, Feb. 17. For tickets at $25, you can visit The work is being presented with assistance from Mehdi Walerski and Esther Shalev-Gerz.